All posts tagged: mystery

Sara Donati–a self-proclaimed ‘long-winded’ storyteller talks about her lushly researched new novel, WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS, how she was going to be a nurse, how writing is painful, but she’s obsessed, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  From the international bestselling author of THE GILDED HOUR, this epic historical fiction about two female doctors set in NYC 1880s will enthrall and capture your heart.  From 1998 to 2011, Sara Donati changed the landscape of historical fiction when she brought readers to the Wilderness series, introducing six historical novels following the Bonner family through upstate New York. Now, WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS (Berkley, September 10 2019) is a glorious, sweeping sequel to her THE GILDED HOUR (2016) and I immensely enjoyed this historical fiction. In this tale, obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of her cousin, dear friend, and fellow physician, Dr. Anna Savard, she plans to continue her work with women who come from the darker side of life. But there have been a rash of murders–specifically–women who have been ripped open with curious wounds to the uterus. Clearly, the person responsible has some medical knowledge? But who? And …

Laura McHugh talks about her new, Pushcart-nominated novel, THE WOLF WANTS IN, her brother’s mysterious death, ‘genius Apothic Brew,’ living in river towns, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay Set in a small, rural Blackwater Kansas, THE WOLF WANTS IN is stark, startling account of pain, sadness, and poverty. Sadie Keller is determined to discover how her brother died, even if no one else thinks it’s worth investigating. Her brother was married, worked an honest job, there’s no reason he’d just up and die. But the authorities are thinking he died of a heart attack Sadie doesn’t buy it. Plus, his wife, Crystle, is acting strange. Still, others grieve differently and this just may be Crystle’s way. With two previous, highly acclaimed novels, THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD and ARROWOOD, Laura McHugh dives back into her vein of (Spiegel & Grau, August 6 2019). The writing is atmospheric, gritty, and bleak. This is a dark read comprised of a moving study of poverty and rural back-woodsy towns, colorful, often substance-abusing characters with an undercurrent of pain, sadness, and loneliness. The writing is astute; McHugh is a careful observer, which is exactly a skill a good author must possess. The story and the writing is both raw and poetic.  Told in …

NYT bestselling author Linwood Barclay chats about his new thriller, A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS…thrills & chills & twists galore

By Leslie Lindsay  Fast-paced summer thriller about a seemingly possessed typewriter will have you thinking you have it all figured out and then… Linwood Barclay is here chatting about how writing is a job he loves (but words don’t get on the page unless you put in the time), how he’s readying for R&R in Prince Edward County, and his love for typewriters and model trains.  I’m so glad I’ve been introduced to Linwood Barclay. His writing is sharp, compelling, and addictive in similar vein of Harlan Coben meets David Bell meets Stephen King. A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2018) is a fabulous thriller beach read that you can easily finish in a long afternoon because it’s so fast-paced and has all the makings of a terrific read: murder, an unreliable protagonist, and just when you think you have it all figured out… You’re wrong. College Professor Paul Davis seems to have it all: house on Long Island Sound, a second wife, a son, a teaching job at a local university. But when he spots a colleague out …

Wednesdays with Writers: Lori Rader-Day talks about her summer plans to teach at distinguished writing institutions, her latest book, THE DAY I DIED, and how it got it’s start at a writer’s workshop nearly 10 years ago, handwriting analysis, what she loves (and hates) about being a novelist and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  THE DAY I DIED explores the fascinating and unique aspects of handwriting analysis to help track down a killer/kidnapper told in a dark, glimmering prose.  Lori Rader-Day burst onto the literary scene in 2014 with her debut mystery, THE BLACK HOUR, which won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. And then her second book, LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, won the Mary Higgins Clark award and was named a 2015 “most arresting crime novel” by the notoriously cranky Kirkus Reviews. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Now, with a new publisher, William Morrow, Lori returns with THE DAY I DIED (April 11, 2017), an unforgettable tale o f a mother’s search for a lost boy. Anna Winger is on the run. We know she has secrets, but what exactly are they? This is part of mystery #1. The second is that there’s a 2-year-old boy missing from the town in which she and her 13 -year-old son are currently living. The sheriff calls her in, …

WeekEND Reading: What if a dream propelled your story into action? That’s just what happened with Gian Sardar’s luminous debut, YOU WERE HERE, plus past lives, a mystery, Minnesota, & more about this story of the unseen.

By Leslie Lindsay  Debut novelist Gian Sardar takes us on a journey through the murky world of dreams where the past weaves with the present in a chilling crime, told in a gorgeous lyrical prose. I have such a fascination with dreams–nightmares, too–and wonder just what they reveal about our conscious selves, and most of all–our past. That’s what YOU WERE HERE seeks to do; it pulls us into that dream world and reads almost as if you *are* in a dream, but not quite. Abby Walters is originally from Minnesota but living in L.A. with her screenwriting boyfriend who’s a bit (okay, a lot) commitment shy. She works at an estate jewelry shop appraising and selling antique baubles, yet no ring for her. Like all good stories, we get called away from the known and thrust into the world of the ‘unknown.’ So when Abby starts having those old dreams, the ones she only had in Minnesota, she is called back home to attempt to uncover their meaning. Unbeknownst to her, there are a grisly slew of rapes …

Wednesdays with Writers: What happens when you sleep? Could you be capable of murder? Chris Bohjalian explores this and more in his latest novel, THE SLEEPWALKER, plus rising early, following characters onto the page, being a teen magician

By Leslie Lindsay  From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire–the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night. Psychologically astute rift with family secrets, mystery, and a terrifying sleep disorder, THE SLEEPWALKER is at first a family portrait swallowed in the throes of grief. With an author like Chris Bohjalian, you’re in good hands; expert hands, in fact. When I learned about THE SLEEPWALKER, I knew I had to read it: missing people, mothers especially, are a fascination of mine. So too is sleep and dreams. Toss in a lovely flawed family portrait and I am putty in your hands. When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. She once spray-painted the front hydrangeas silver, and yet…things always work out just fine. But this time it’s different. This time, she can’t be found. Days turn to weeks. An investigation ensues. Speculation swirls. What happened …

Wednesdays with Writers: Can Someone Really Reinvent Oneself? Kate Moretti talks about that; her latest obsession with serial killers, secret passages, being a ‘mix’ of plotter vs. pantser, her newest novel THE VANISHING YEAR & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  THE VANISHING YEAR (Atria Books, September 2016) is a stunning domestic psych suspense by Kate Moretti, one that delivers a modern, urgent, cutting-edge slightly different than her contemporaries. How is it different? Well, for one it’s a bit rags-to-riches where other, comparative titles are not. Zoe Whitaker is living a charmed life in NYC. She has a ‘golden boy’ wealthy husband, a marble penthouse, all the fancy clothing and jewels a girl could want…but she’s not superficial; her character comes across as very personable, yet flawed–you know the girl has secrets, but what are they? No one knows, but five years ago Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely. The beginning pages read beautifully, I was enthralled with the world Zoe resides, her ‘secret,’ and the words Moretti strings together. Join me as I sit down with New York Times …

Writers on Wednesday: The challenge in developing empathy and rendering complex characters, the allure & mystery of lake water, a 1930s Minnesota cabin, decades-old mystery, and so much more in Heather Young’s THE LOST GIRLS

By Leslie Lindsay It was the lake house in Minnesota that drew me to THE LOST GIRLS (William Morrow/Harper Collins, July 2016), the spellbinding debut from highly talented debut novelist Heather Young. Having lived in Minnesota briefly as a newlywed and then new mother, I eagerly dove into a narrative about the place I called home, about a place that shaped my early adulthood. In that sense, THE LOST GIRLS was wonderfully atmospheric, I felt the strong to-your-bones frigid winds whipping at my face, saw the thick, opaque ice forming over the lake, and felt the goose flesh on my arms as I imagined the faulty seals on the windows in that lake cottage. In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the …

Writers on Wednesday: Laura McHugh on her second novel ARROWOOD, old homes, the longing to return home, memory & truth, and how she always reads the ‘crime section’ in the newspaper.

By Leslie Lindsay  Set primarily in southern Iowa, ARROWOOD (August 9, Random House/Spiegel & Grau) is McHugh’s sophomore novel, but it’s certainly no slump. McHugh is an astute and observant writer weaving touches of Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri in the languid landscape (which I absolutely adored, having lived in most all of those states) in this psychological exploration of family and the stories our homes contain.  Arrowood is one of the most ornate and glorious homes lining the banks of the Mississippi River in a dying town where many of the old homes are boarded up and left to decay. The town simply cannot sustain themselves any longer. The humidity is high and one can nearly hear the frogs chorusing in trees. When Arden returns from her grad school program in Colorado, it’s mostly because she struggles with finishing her history thesis, but also to inherit her family home. Not only has her father recently passed, but Arden is haunted by the need to know what happened to her baby sisters, twins, who disappeared …